Many business owners waste huge amounts of time carrying out tasks manually that could be automated with software. By embracing automation, you are saving yourself hours of work. On top of this, automation can reduce errors and help you to stay more organized.
Nowadays, it's possible to automate all kinds of tasks. Of course, not every task that can be automated should be automated. However, there are some tasks that clearly do benefit from automation. Below are 10 examples:
Backing up data
Keeping all your data backed up on the cloud can be important in case your local hardware gets damaged, stolen or hacked. While you can manually back up files every time you create or edit them, it makes more sense to automate this entire process. Most modern operating systems and business programs will automatically back up data, although you may want to check that these settings are on and that your data is being backed up in the right place. This article Automated Backup: How It Works & Why To Use It explains more.
Sending reminder messages
It's useful to remind clients of appointments, upcoming payments and other scheduled events - such reminders can reduce the chance of customers forgetting and ensure that they follow through. Of course, if you're doing this manually, you too may forget to send a reminder. This is why it can be worth sending automated reminder messages. A day before an appointment or a few days before payment, a reminder message can automatically be sent to each client via text or email. This could dramatically reduce missed appointments and missed payments.
After a customer has paid for a product or service, it's important to give them a receipt. Online receipts are typically sent via email and are something that you should always automate. Without a payment confirmation, there may not be any legal proof that a payment went through. By automating payment confirmation, you make sure that each transaction is confirmed promptly, your customers are put at ease, and you are legally protected.
Clocking employee hours
Do your employees all get hourly pay? Do they all work a different number of hours each week? Clocking your employees' hours is essential in making sure that they are paid accurately for their time. Traditionally, many employers have used timesheets to do this. However, getting employees to manually fill in timesheets and then manually calculating the pay can often lead to errors. As this guide How To Manage Timesheet Reminders And Improve Your Payday Process explains, one simple way of reducing such errors is automate the process of clocking employee hours. Employees can digitally clock in and out using digital timeclocks - which could take the form of apps or devices on a wall. Each employee's hours can then be digitally tracked and pay can be automatically calculated, saving you a lot of time and improving pay accuracy.
Paying your employees
On top of clocking employees' hours, it makes sense to automate the actual paying process. Every time it is payday, software can automatically convert hours into pay, and then pay that amount from your accounts along with sending each employee an automated digital pay slip. This is much more efficient than manually paying each employee as it ensures that no employee is missed and that all of them are paid at the same time. It also saves you a lot of time and you don't have to interrupt your day to handle the payroll.
Accurately calculating tax is very important. If you don't want to overpay tax, and you certainly don't want to underpay and get caught out by the IRS. Manually calculating how much tax you need to pay can be a chore. Fortunately, pretty much all accounting software programs can automate this process for you nowadays. This includes automatically calculating your own and your employees' taxes.
Creating staff task schedules (rotas)
If you run a business in which employees all work different shifts, you could find that creating staff task schedules is a hugely time-consuming task. Thankfully, this is another task that can be automated. Employee scheduling software can automatically create a task schedule that fits each of your employees' available hours as best as possible. Such schedules can also be automatically adapted if an employee suddenly leaves or is sick.
In certain jobs, it could be important for employees to share calendars so that their colleagues can see when they are in meetings or out of the office. There is no need to manually share calendars anymore because calendar-sharing apps can allow multiple employees to access each other's calendars. As soon as a meeting is added, everyone can be automatically alerted of this, making it much easier for everyone to stay on the same page.
For companies that sell products, it's essential to track when new products are coming in and when they have been sold, so that you can accurately record how many items you have. Using stock ordering software, you can track each item that comes into your premises. Using POS or an ecommerce software, you can then digitally track every time an item is sold. Software can similarly be used to track other types of stock using RFID tags and scanners, although a certain degree of manual entry may still be needed depending on the item.
Social media scheduling
Finally, it's worth automating social media scheduling. This involves creating content in advance and then automatically scheduling it to be published at a certain time and date. Using scheduling, you can plan out the week's social media posts in one day rather than having to constantly interrupt each day to put something on social media. There are tools that can allow you to schedule the same content to different platforms and even automatically repost content after a certain time. This guide How To Schedule Social Media Content For Next Week, Next Month And Next Year explains more.